Your Child's First Dental Visit

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Your child's first visit to the dental office should be around his or her first birthday, but could be as early as you'd like (as soon as the first tooth erupts or even sooner).

Many children get scared or express apprehension when they know they are going to the dentist for the first time. All the more reason to start your baby on a lifetime of good oral hygiene at an early age. It is up to you (with help from us) to prepare your child for the visit by emphasizing the positive reasons for good dental care. Avoid using words such as "needle," pull," "hurt," or "drill," as these sometimes trigger fears in a child. The earlier the child is accustomed to visiting the dentist, the less those fears will be pronounced in later years.

For young children, especially those under three years, a parent or relative may accompany the child throughout the procedure. Older children are encouraged to show independence.

Many first visits are nothing more than introductory icebreakers to acquaint your child with the dentist and the practice. If the child is frightened, uncomfortable, or uncooperative, you may need to reschedule your appointment.

Patience and calm on your part will help ensure a successful and stress-free visit for your child. Schedule the appointment as early as possible in the day, when your child is alert and fresh.

The typical first dental appointment for your child could include one or more of the following:
  • A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums, and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas.
  • If needed, a gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar build-up, and stains.
  • X-rays
  • A demonstration of proper dental hygiene.
  • Assessment of the need for fluoride.
Ask our office if you can take your child on a tour of the dental office in advance of your appointment. This will create a sense of familiarity when the real appointment rolls around. Before your child's dental visit, ask us about the procedures to expect so there are no surprises. Talk to your child about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit. Bring with you to the appointment any records of your child's complete medical history.